Ideas for children on Good Friday

INTRODUCTION

The story of Good Friday can be a challenging one to approach with children. There are many versions available, from cartoon and Lego versions on YouTube to children’s Bible versions, like the one below.

One way to approach the story is through the emotion of the story rather than the detail.

On Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds cheered him and loved him. But, some of the things that Jesus said and did were making the people in charge very angry. They thought He might become more powerful than them. On Good Friday they became so angry that they decided to punish Him. The people in charge were so angry that the crowds began to agree with them and many people said that they did not love Jesus any more. They all said that Jesus should be punished. His punishment was to be killed.

 

 

BIBLE READING

Matthew 27 (International Children’s Version)

Jesus Is Taken to Pilate

Early the next morning, all the leading priests and elders of the people decided to kill Jesus. They tied him, led him away, and turned him over to Pilate, the governor.

Pilate Questions Jesus

Jesus stood before Pilate the governor. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Yes, I am.”

When the leading priests and the elders accused Jesus, he said nothing.

So Pilate said to Jesus, “Don’t you hear these people accusing you of all these things?”

But Jesus said nothing in answer to Pilate. Pilate was very surprised at this.

Pilate Tries to Free Jesus

Every year at the time of Passover the governor would free one person from prison. This was always a person the people wanted to be set free. At that time there was a man in prison who was known to be very bad. His name was Barabbas. All the people gathered at Pilate’s house. Pilate said, “Which man do you want me to free: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Christ?” Pilate knew that they gave Jesus to him because they were jealous.

Pilate said these things while he was sitting on the judge’s seat. While he was sitting there, his wife sent a message to him. The message said, “Don’t do anything to that man. He is not guilty. Today I had a dream about him, and it troubled me very much.”

But the leading priests and elders told the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be freed and for Jesus to be killed.

Pilate said, “I have Barabbas and Jesus. Which do you want me to set free for you?”

The people answered, “Barabbas!”

Pilate asked, “What should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?”

They all answered, “Kill him on a cross!”

Pilate asked, “Why do you want me to kill him? What wrong has he done?”

But they shouted louder, “Kill him on a cross!”

Pilate saw that he could do nothing about this, and a riot was starting. So he took some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. Then he said, “I am not guilty of this man’s death. You are the ones who are causing it!”

All the people answered, “We will be responsible. We accept for ourselves and for our children any punishment for his death.”

Then Pilate freed Barabbas. Pilate told some of the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then he gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace. All the soldiers gathered around Jesus. They took off his clothes and put a red robe on him. Then the soldiers used thorny branches to make a crown. They put this crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then the soldiers bowed before Jesus and made fun of him. They said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spit on Jesus. Then they took his stick and hit him on the head many times. After they finished making fun of Jesus, the soldiers took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led Jesus away to be killed on a cross.

Jesus Is Killed on a Cross

The soldiers were going out of the city with Jesus. They forced another man to carry the cross to be used for Jesus. This man was Simon, from Cyrene. They all came to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means the Place of the Skull.) At Golgotha, the soldiers gave Jesus wine to drink. This wine was mixed with gall. He tasted the wine but refused to drink it. The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. They threw lots to decide who would get his clothes. The soldiers sat there and continued watching him. They put a sign above Jesus’ head with the charge against him written on it. The sign read: “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Two robbers were nailed to crosses beside Jesus, one on the right and the other on the left. People walked by and insulted Jesus. They shook their heads, saying, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. So save yourself! Come down from that cross, if you are really the Son of God!”

The leading priests, the teachers of the law, and the Jewish elders were also there. These men made fun of Jesus and said, “He saved other people, but he can’t save himself! People say he is the King of Israel! If he is the King, then let him come down now from the cross. Then we will believe in him. He trusts in God. So let God save him now, if God really wants him. He himself said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And in the same way, the robbers who were being killed on crosses beside Jesus also insulted him.

Jesus Dies

At noon the whole country became dark. This darkness lasted for three hours. 46About three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” This means, “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”

Some of the people standing there heard this. They said, “He is calling Elijah.”

Quickly one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled the sponge with vinegar and tied it to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to drink from it. But the others said, “Don’t bother him. We want to see if Elijah will come to save him.”

Again Jesus cried out in a loud voice. Then he died.

Then the curtain in the Temple split into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way down to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks broke apart. The graves opened, and many of God’s people who had died were raised from death. They came out of the graves after Jesus was raised from death. They went into the holy city, and many people saw them.

The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything else that happened. They were very frightened and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

Many women were standing at a distance from the cross, watching. These were women who had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there.

ACTIVITY IDEAS

Draw a tear drop on a piece of paper. Inside the teardrop write a prayer or draw a picture about how the story makes you feel.

Make a cross out of twigs and leaves. Say a prayer for all the people in the world who are sad and suffering.

Keep your cross in a safe place. You will need it again on Sunday!

 

A Hot Cross Bun prayer

If you have the ingredients, you can either make your own or pretend by doing the actions!

As you stir the mixture: Thank you Jesus that you came into the world and stirred things up so that people thought about what really mattered.

As you lay the cross on top of the bun: Thank you Jesus for coming to save us by dying on a cross and taking the punishment for the bad things we do.

As they go in the oven:  Thank you that, although you were buried in a tomb, you rose three days later and you are still alive today.

As you eat a hot cross bun: Thank you Lord Jesus for giving us all we need to live a life following you. Amen.